Posted by psgels on 24 December 2007 with categories: Anime Reviews, Higurashi no Naku Koro ni

Some reviews are easier to write than others. With Higurashi, it’s going to be difficult, though, simply because of the huge contrast between the first and the second season. The fact also remains that this is one of these series that’s better than the sum of its parts. First, let me say that if you were interested in the concept of Higurashi, just to see “killer lolis” and cute girls, killing each other, then you will be disappointed. Sure, this is a disturbing series, but Higurashi no Naku Koro ni is so much more than a bunch of random massacres.

The first season is basically one incredibly well-developed mystery-series with lots and I mean lots of horror. Throughout six arcs, you see the different characters, as they discover more and more of the complex, multi-layered plot that forms the foundation of this series, while countless false tracks and red herrings are put on the screen, in order to confuse the viewer. You’ll never know who to trust at this point, and the same goes for the characters. There may be a few annoying moments here and there, including some pacing-issues, but overall it’s an intense and diverse thriller that keeps you hungry for more amidst the brutality.

And then the second season comes, and it’s completely different. The first season went so fast that it often didn’t leave any time for quiet moments and character-development; it sometimes went too fast that it nearly tripped, and then the second season comes and fixes this. The pacing continues at a very slow pace, but because of this, there is enough time to flesh out the different characters, to explain everything that need to be said about the story, and to build up for an incredibly solid finale. The characters actually start to realize that their bloodstained hands were a huge mistake, and they try to escape the horror. There’s also an incredibly huge emphasis on friendship and trust.

Obviously, the second season is less exciting to watch, but instead, the first season is less heart-warming. The second season is quite slow, while the first season thunders through its storyline to get it finished in time. Obviously, when you look at the individual elements, things feel strange, and for most people, it’s going to be hard to get used to the completely new road that the second season went into.

But boy, if you start looking at it from a distance, the entire package becomes so much better. In terms of storytelling, the story is closed off perfectly, even though there still is a third season on the way. It knows exactly how to build up well, and the storytelling for especially the second season has been flawless.

All in all, Higurashi is inconsistent, but it’s one heck of a special series. The cast of characters and the setting is definitely memorable, and there are more than enough different moments that make you care about them. Just one piece of advice: when watching episode 17, try not to eat or drink anything. You’ll understand when you watch it.

3 Responses

  1. anne says:

    I loved the series and never had a hard time getting into the 2nd season. Even with it’s slowness, it still had some shockingly gruesome and horrible moments. I guess I can see why people wouldn’t like it because it’s nothing like the first. But to me the strength of the show lies within the characters. If you love the characters you want to know the whys behind their actions. That is where the 2nd season really shines. Overall, it was a great show. I think the end was a bit too comical at times but I have no real complaints. It’s amazing storytelling and everything is so complete. The Higurashi team really redeemeded themselves with the 2nd season in terms of story telling.

  2. gsilver says:

    I recently saw this, and I didn’t like the second season nearly as much as the first. Too much ‘checklist’-mode, too much of Rika’s dialog felt off to me, too slow, too over-the-top in a lot of ways (not that the first season wasn’t, just in different and harder-to-accept ways).

    I also didn’t feel terribly attached to the characters, which is probably why our opinions differ so much on the second season. If I were enthralled by the character development (and yes, there is a lot of good stuff), the other issues wouldn’t overshadow it.

    Purely looking at the first season, it is very incomplete, yet the second season still doesn’t complement it nearly as well as it should.

    I loved the Rei OAV, though. That Hanyuu is tricky, ain’t she?

  3. Gerdano says:

    Many might dissagree with me but they kept babbling on about friendship and trust, in the end it became annoying. In the middle of the second season it kept repeating on about the (SPOOOOOOIIIIIILLLLLLEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEERRRRRR)
    child welfare saying no and stuff, which sucked, other than that part of the second season it was great, especially the way they tell u why all the acts were commited. I really liked how much of the different story arcs could, atleast a bit, relate to eachother and….. KEICHII FOREVAH. Lol just had to.

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  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Wednesday, Oct 7. 2015 11:24 PM)
    Its great to see asano inio’s designs being used for subete and I hope that will draw more attention to his works.
  • Bam
    (Wednesday, Oct 7. 2015 11:18 PM)
    @Kaiser: well Subete did top the strawpoll so Aidan’s gonna cover it. I’ll check the first episode to see what y’all are hypin about.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Wednesday, Oct 7. 2015 10:44 PM)
    I did however look into the drama for subete ga F and I’ll be following the anime of that certainly.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Wednesday, Oct 7. 2015 10:41 PM)
    I’ll keep it short, the ANN guys pretty much called it with their Sakurako-san preview and I agree.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Wednesday, Oct 7. 2015 10:36 PM)
    @Bam: Yes avalon was a muddled mess what I recall of it.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Wednesday, Oct 7. 2015 10:35 PM)
    @Bam: I’m counting Hateful 8 as a 2016 flick really, its not coming out until January next year over here =<
    Ah yes Garm wars last druid, after all I do come from the land of druids =) I'm pretty much obligated to see the new Bond as a friend will be expecting my review of it.
  • Bam
    (Wednesday, Oct 7. 2015 10:28 PM)
    @Kaiser: I don’t like his live-action stuff as much, unless you’re talking about that Canadian-Japanese live action/animated hybrid Garm Wars: The Last Druid, in which case I’m also intrigued.
  • Bam
    (Wednesday, Oct 7. 2015 10:24 PM)
    @Kaiser: I’m mostly looking forward to Hateful Eight and the new Bond. I saw a preview for a relatively unknown flick called Crimson Peak that’s made by Guilermo DelToro (which actually premieres next Friday) that looked interesting. It’s probably a mediocre horror flick but I loved the vibrant look and the gothic designs.
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Wednesday, Oct 7. 2015 10:19 PM)
    WHAAAA! Mamoru oshii made a new film and I didn’t know about it! =O
  • Kaiser Eoghan
    (Wednesday, Oct 7. 2015 10:15 PM)
    @Bam: Sicario’s trailer made the mistep, as did the opening scene of making it look like an all out shoot ‘em up, the violence is mostly well placed however.

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